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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Calmer Pointing and Persistence

I have been persisting in giving Bow only my smallest finger to hold onto when he spells, and this is working well, although not necessarily from the perspective of actual proof. A side effect of his having only a very small part of me to hold onto is that Bow is gentler and more calm when he writes. Before, he had started to squeeze my hand a lot, when he was asking for something he really wanted and thought he might not get. Now Bow is calmer and seems more responsible in his pointing. It creates more of a clear differentiation between him and me, what he wants, and what I want.

Bow enjoying a salad that consists of peas in the pod, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and Texas toast croutons
He had gotten to the point, as a teenager, where he did not even want to say anything, anymore,  unless he was sure he would get what he wanted, so that asking and receiving became one and the same thing. He would spell "give me an X" and then for good measure he would spell  "Yes". As if by saying that, he would get me to say "yes." But now he has stopped doing that.

I don't know whether you have noticed in the videos, but both Bow and I are right handed, and when he spells on the glass, he takes my left hand in his right. Now that he only gets a very small part of that hand to work with, it is even more obvious that I cannot be the power behind the movement.

Bow enjoying a homemade brownie
I baked some brownies for the high school choir concert bake sale, and Bow watched me at work in the kitchen. But when he asked to sample the brownies, he was very gentle and not at all frantic or impatient.

Bow loves chocolate, but whenever he gets to eat anything with chocolate in it, he eats very slowly and savors it.

That's pretty much all that is happening here right now. The Weigela  blossoms are spent. They shed their petals all over the lagoon.

Only a few stray late bloomers remain.

Most of the flowers are bare now and trying to form fruit.

Beside the lagoon, the black garden ants are still hard at work on the peonies, which have not opened yet.

In the woods, the cypress spurge is forming tiny orange flowers which are very hard to see. I think this is the first time I have noticed them at all.

By the side of the walking trail, the mustard flowers are practically radiant.

It requires much patience and persistence to get results. We are persisting. We are persisting beyond what anyone expected. Normally, by the time a chimpanzee is thirteen, he is considered too old to be useful for ape language research, and normally, researchers who do not get recognition for one experiment move on to something else.

 For years, I heard perseverance hailed as a virtue. Then I read the literature on autism, and they had "perseveration"  down as something bad.  Is it bad that we persist? Should we just give up? I don't see how we can, though, because how else would we communicate with each other?

If you would like to help Project Bow, please consider purchasing a card based on one of my photos
Redbud Against Blue Sky Mother's Day Card


  1. OH MY Goodnes he is eating with a utensil! That is so awesome! Yeah persistence does pay off and with that you have to have a whole lot of patience too. I loved your pictures of the flowers in your area.

    1. Thanks, Debbie. Oh, yes, he has been eating with utensils for years.

  2. Persistence seems to have been forgotten in the age of I want results now culture. I think social media and technology can be great, but it has made some forget about the beauty and fortitude of persistence. Back in the day a small farmer had to work many years to achieve success, which might be mitigated by the forces of nature. Technology made some of this obsolete, so we often forget that there was a time persistence was needed for survival.

    1. Yes, I think that's true, Julia. I am even falling prey a little to that "I want it now" way of thinking myself when I work on my daily blogs and neglect some longer term writing. But persistence can even include taking a necessary break from something and then coming back to it with renewed energy.

  3. Congratulations, Aya - I love this approach with Bow. Maybe at some point, he will find it annoying and frustrating to have to deal with your limp, small finger, and just start pointing on his own.
    A Battle of Wills - Part 3. :)

    1. Thanks, Kathy, I really hope he does that, but I have a feeling it might take a bit more than just this. We tend to have our greatest breakthroughs in times of crisis -- or just after a crisis has passed. It's hard to predict when the next one will be, even though in retrospect it may be easy to see.